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Supporting and Representing School Leaders

Irish Primary Principals’ Network Líonra Phríomhoidí Bunscoile Éireann

Ciall Ceannaithe Sound Advice and Borrowed Wisdom for Newly Appointed Principals

ISBN: 978-0-9555050-2-7

Irish Primary Principals’ Network 2010

Ciall Ceannaithe Sound Advice and Borrowed Wisdom for Newly Appointed Principals

A N I P P N P U B L I C AT I O N Updated version published in 2010 by Líonra+, Original printed 2007 Glounthaune, Co. Cork, Ireland Š IPPN 2010. All rights reserved. ISBN: 978-0-9555050-2-7 Typesetting & Printing: Brosna Press Ltd., Ferbane, Co. Offaly, Ireland

CONTENTS Foreword & Acknowledgements


Chapter 1

Sound Advice and Borrowed Wisdom


Chapter 2

Scheduling Priorities in Year 1


Chapter 3

Good Practice for Teaching Principals


Chapter 4

Teaching Principals: A Possible Approach to Timetabling


Chapter 5

Principal appointed from within the School Staff


Chapter 6

New Principal - New School


Chapter 7

Factual Information About Your School


Chapter 8

Professional Supports available to Principals


Appendix A

Essential References


Appendix B

Essential Resources


Appendix C

Monthly Planning Prompts


Appendix D

Steps for Recruiting a Teacher


Appendix E

Procedures for making an Appointment to the In-School Management Team as per DES Circular 07/03


Appendix F

Online Claims System (OLCS)


Appendix G

Guidelines for the completion of Salary Returns form


Appendix H

Online Claims System (OLCS) - User Guidelines


Appendix I

A Schedule Priority Checklist


Appendix J

Board of Management Minutes Template


Appendix K

Class Preference Sheet


Appendix L

Maoirseacht 2010 – 2011


Appendix M

Boards of Management – A Framework for Good Practice


A Framework of Roles within an Effective and Efficient BOM


Foreword Comhghairdeas ó chroí chughat ar son Líonra Phríomhoidí Bunscoile Éireann as ucht do phost nuacheaptha mar Phríomhoide. Ta ré nua tosaithe agat mar chinnire scoile i do shaol phroifisiúnta. Déanfaimíd ár ndícheall chun tacaíocht, misneach agus spreagadh a thabhairt duit san obair fíor-thábhachtach, taitneamhach, tairbheach atá tosaithe agat mar Phríomhoide. The role of Principal as administrator, manager and leader is not only a position of great responsibility but also one that is immensely challenging and rewarding. Starting any new job or project is probably the most challenging phase. The seanfhocal Tús maith leath na h-oibre stresses the value of good beginnings. Becoming Principal and leading a school community is by any measure a significant challenge. Having been appointed Principal, you naturally tend to focus on acquiring as much information as possible about the new school. However, experience shows that it is the ability to quickly gain tacit rather than factual knowledge that can make the greatest difference to the success of the initial stages of your new Principalship. Since our foundation in 2000, IPPN has led the way in supporting and resourcing new Principals. Services include Mentoring, confidential Principal Advice Line, mailing list for newly appointed principals and local support groups. Ciall Ceannaithe, specifically for new Principals to enable you to: gain an overall perspective on your new role ■ develop a sense of pacing and timing to help you through your first year ■ distinguish tacit from factual knowledge ■ provide practical advice on key situations, and above all ■ benefit from the knowledge of so many Principals who have ‘been there’ and generously shared the wisdom of their experience. ■

While not a direct translation, ‘Sound Advice and Borrowed Wisdom’ captures the essence of what we mean by Ciall Ceannaithe. Wisdom can be described as knowledge gained from experience, which has to be a priority for anyone starting a new leadership role.You are indeed fortunate to have access to the rich wisdom gleaned from the many contributors to this publication. IPPN has also designed and developed an Online Course based on the content of Ciall Ceannaithe, but with the added benefit of being interactive. It provides many practical supports and resources for Newly Appointed Principals. An application form for this course can be accessed under the Learn/Learning+ section of the IPPN website at Principalship has many complexities and clearly Ciall Ceannaithe is not attempting to be a blueprint for successful school leadership. It is intended to be a Tús maith to help you develop an understanding of best practice, gain confidence in your role during your first year. As you settle into the role, we encourage you to engage with all available supports and services and develop the habit of continuous professional and personal development. After all, as Principal you are not just the leader of the school, but also the leading learner. Go raibh rath Dé ort i do phríomhoideacht nua bhainte. Is sinne le meas, Seán Cottrell Director

Pat Goff President

Virginia O’Mahony Assistant Director


1 SOUND ADVICE AND BORROWED WISDOM The points of advice offered in this chapter are not definitive but are intended to provoke your thinking before you take up your new leadership role.

START WITH YOURSELF 1 The secret to effective personal organisation and managing vast amounts of information is to access a copy of the Principals’ Information Management System (PIMS) from IPPN and use all of its functions. Always have a pocket diary on your person to make note of meetings etc which you can later transfer to PIMS. 2 Contact IPPN’s Support Office ( or 1890 21 22 23 very early to acquire a full list of all professional supports and services available to Principals. Make sure that you have proper email access to the various services provided by IPPN. 3 Request the assignment of a Mentor by making contact with IPPN as above. You may have friends and neighbouring Principals who will help, but it is essential to have a mentor whom you can confide in and have empathy with for objective and constructive advice. With the permission of your Board of Management, consider spending a day ‘job-shadowing’ your mentor. 4 If you are a Teaching Principal, priorities preparation for your teaching day and make a list of all tasks that MUST be done.Your reputation will be communicated daily by the children and by their parents. 5 If you are an Administrative Principal, make sure that you set up a system whereby you are not regularly expected to act as a substitute teacher or frequent problem solver. Include your ISM team in matters of organisation that can be delegated i.e. splitting classes when teachers are absent on EPV days. 2

6 Arrange a meeting with the former Principal prior to the start of the school year. This should be an invaluable source of direct, open, honest discussion concerning the entire school community. Ascertain if your predecessor is willing to be contactable during your first term to answer specific queries you may have in relation to the school. 7 If at all possible, avoid changing anything in your first year. While it may be very obvious that certain procedures / structures are crying out for change, experience shows that if the ‘new broom’ begins to ‘sweep clean’, even those who want change become fearful and resistant. Make it clear that before anything changes, you intend to observe, consult and listen a lot. Build staff confidence in you by showing strong listening skills. 8 Be generous in your comments about your predecessor and acknowledge your awareness of the successes and high points achieved by your predecessor, colleagues, Board of Management, Parents’ Association and everybody who has contributed to the development of the school to date. 9 Set aside a particular time block each day or each week for (a) administration and (b) meetings. Administration time should be free from interruptions as far as possible, and meetings should be scheduled and by appointment. When people get used to this system they will see the benefits for the school and they will respect your ability to manage your time. Have a sign prepared for your door to indicate that you do not wish to be interrupted. Use sparingly – but wisely. CIALL CEANNAITHE

researching best practice in other schools. Everyone’s view is important but ultimately the decision is not one you can delegate or put to a vote. In such instances, you must make the decision and be prepared to be accountable for it e.g. increasing pupil numbers has not been matched with greater levels of supervision. Staff numbers have grown and you are concerned about the quality and ratio of supervision. It is a matter of risk management and best practice must apply. When you have consulted widely and have considered every aspect then go ahead and make the decision and take ownership of it in a clear and positive manner.

10 The Suggested Timetable for Teaching Principals’ in the Principals’ Information Management System (PIMS) will put you, and not others, in control of your precious time. Being proactive about timetabling will prevent you being in reactive mode to others’ needs. 11 In order to separate your personal life from your role as Principal, set down a number of markers from the beginning regarding your availability. Have your telephone number made ex-directory by Eircom or Scoiltel. Do not give your mobile telephone number to parents under any circumstances. Make sure chairperson, secretary, and staff have a clear understanding about the nature of business that you would / would not want to be contacted about outside of normal work hours. Decide who the designated contact in case of an emergency is and who the official out of hour’s key holder is.

DECISION-MAKING 1 Always keep in mind that you are ultimately responsible to the BoM for the day-to-day management of the school.You are the Principal and this fact will on occasion affect your role vis-à-vis all staff. Consistency in the implementation of your role is very important. 2 There are very few tough decisions that need to be made instantly. As a general rule of thumb, the more difficult the decision, the more time you should give to consultation, examining good practice and reflection before deciding. Never be afraid to say ‘I need to consider that further, I will get back to you’. 3 Before making a decision, get into the habit of asking yourself ‘who will be affected by this?’ These are the people with whom you should consult. Decide in haste, regret at your leisure! 4 Decision-making is a crucial aspect of the Principal’s role. Begin by understanding that there are different levels of decision-making. i. A large number of decisions refer to routine matters and are inconsequential to the key function of the school e.g. whether teachers supervise children for short periods every day or for longer periods less often. Note: Such decisions are ideal for delegation. ii. Other decisions require consultation not only with those directly involved but also with others who may be involved indirectly such as parents and children e.g. establishing procedures for the safe entry and exit of children to/from the school yard. In this case there may be more than one option and you can defer to staff choice without imposing your will. iii.Some decisions are more fundamental in nature. They require more extensive consultation, as well as

iv. It is crucial that the Chairperson of the BOM is kept informed of matters relating to staff and pupils which require consultation and could not be deemed routine. 5 The example illustrated in point 4 – (i, ii and iii above) is in the context of decision-making at stafflevel. The same approach to decision making applies to working with the Parents’ Association, In-School Management Team and the Board of Management.and the Board of Management. THE PRINCIPAL’S ROLE IN A LEGISLATIVE CONTEXT In practice, successful Principals lead and manage their schools through consensus-based decision- making. The extent to which staff, children, parents, BoM, Parents’ Association and Community support and cooperate with the Principal, depends on whether you are a leader or a manager and whether you have the skills to communicate effectively in a spirit of collegiality and transparency. Nevertheless, there are times when difficult situations or difficult people necessitate a more formal approach to decision-making and management. In such instances, it is important that you and others understand the relationship between BoM and Principal as well as between Principal and Staff. The roles of Teacher and Principal are set out clearly in legislation whereby the Principal is positioned as the ‘line manager’ of Teachers and other school staff. All staff report to the Principal who in turn reports to the Board of Management. Effectively, the role of Principal is positioned in the model of ‘Chief Executive Officer’ whereby the responsibility for the success of the school is delegated by the Board of Management to the Principal. The Education Act (1998), Part V Section 22 (1) states that “The Principal of a recognised school and the Teachers of a recognised school, under the direction of the Principal, shall



have the responsibility (…) for the instruction provided to students in the school…”. Section 22 (2) states that “The Principal and Teachers shall (…) (d) (…) carry out those duties that – (i) in the case of Teachers, are assigned to them by or at the direction of the Principal and (ii) in the case of the Principal, are assigned to him or her by the Board.” Section 23 (2) states that “In addition to the functions of a Principal provided for in Chapter 22, the Principal shall – (a) be responsible for the day-to-day management of the school, including guidance and direction of the Teachers and other staff in the school, and be accountable to the board for that management, (b) provide leadership to the Teachers and other staff and the students of the school, (c) be responsible for the creation (…) of a school environment which is supportive of learning among students and which promotes the professional development of Teachers, (d) under the direction of the board and, in consultation with the Teachers, the parents and, to the extent appropriate to their age and experience, the students, set objectives for the school and monitor the achievement of those objectives, (e) encourage the involvement of parents of students in the school in the education of those students and in the achievement of the objectives of the school.” Section 23 (3) states that “For the purpose of carrying out his or her functions under this Act, a Principal shall have all such powers as are necessary or expedient in that regard …).”

STAFF 1 From the beginning involve the Deputy Principal in all aspects of consultation and decision-making. His/her support is now, and always will be, enormously important in building the team. Familiarise yourself with all existing staff-related Administrative and Organisational Policies as well as Curricular Plans. 2 Acknowledge and affirm the importance of all the In School Management Team, both individually and collectively. If at all possible, avoid reviewing the ISM roles in your first year. Instead, focus on getting to know their current roles and how they complement the work of the Principal. Ensure that a timetable for ISM meetings is maintained/established and that these meetings become/continue to be an important element of your relationship with the team. 4

3 Meet all school staff individually. Listen carefully to everybody. Develop a strategy that enables them to know that you have heard them! Be aware of hidden messages by ‘listening between the lines’. Acknowledge your reliance on all staff, teaching and ancillary, for information, advice and support. 4 Engage with long-serving members of staff to gain valuable information on the wealth of local social history. 5 Set up formal and informal communication channels with all the members of the school team. 6 Ensure that there is an appropriate room somewhere in the school so that you can speak with parents, staff, pupils, visitors confidentially. 7 Ensure that you treat all members of staff equally and fairly. Build in a time each day to be available for teachers and other staff. This ensures good proactive time management. Build trust. Have high expectations of people, it helps them to become better. 8 Get to know your staff as individual people and try to understand their collective culture template for recording minutes available in Resources Section of 9 Bearing in mind the advice to change nothing in the first year, you may come under pressure from parents and staff to make changes that are deemed to be urgently required. A useful approach in such a situation is to give a one page template to each member of staff asking them to identify the aspects of the school which they are a) most proud of, believe to be central to the school’s success and in the best interests of children and b) most concerned about, detrimental to the efficient running of the school, dangerous from a health & safety point of view and not in the best interests of children. Insist on these templates being returned to you directly, signed by the individual staff member i.e. no anonymous /mischievous input. Involve your Deputy Principal (and in larger schools your ISM team) in collating and condensing the feedback. This allows you to form an agenda for change which is staff-driven. Make it clear that some of these issues will require Board approval. The key thing is to give staff ownership of the change process where you appear to be responsive to their needs rather than determining them. 10 There may be some staff uncomfortable or negative towards you or your appointment. Consciously engage with them. It is essential to demonstrate your ‘comfort’ with everyone, even those who may be negative towards you. Have courage and find people who will support you when you stand up for your beliefs. Be willing to be there for them too. CIALL CEANNAITHE

11 Harness the good will, enthusiasm and talents of staff members who are not in formal ISM roles. Acknowledge the value of the voluntary and extracurricular work they are doing. Acknowledge and affirm these, both publicly and privately. Make yourself available to them when they need your advice but avoid interfering with their work.

recording minutes available in Resources Section of • Everyone’s opinion counts. This only works if the chairperson insists on everyone being given the opportunity to speak before anyone gets to make a second contribution. Listen carefully, make notes, summarise key points. If consensus on a particular course of action or decision is not achievable, summarise the various arguments and invite further contributions from staff members who declined to contribute earlier. Don’t allow repetitive arguments. Probe the group for a solution. Whatever happens, do not put the issue to a vote as it will be divisive and lead to similar trench lines being drawn on future issues. As an alternative, inform the group that the issue requires further consideration and postpone a decision until the next meeting. This allows you time to consult more broadly including other Principals after which you can re-strategise for the next meeting. • Ensure that everybody understands what tasks have to be done and the time scale within which it is to be completed. • Arrange a date for the next meeting.

12 Don’t be afraid to ask staff members for help. Use a simple phrase such as ‘How would you feel about helping out with… as I understand you have a lot of experience in this area?’ Most people will help if approached in the right way. If you don’t ask, you will never know. 13 Be a caring Principal.You can only lead an effective school with the goodwill of teachers and ancillary staff. What you give to staff you will receive a hundredfold in return. Treat everybody with respect. Lead rather than drive. Cultivate a pleasant and professional atmosphere. Don’t expect perfection from yourself or from others. From our mistakes we learn and we gain the respect of others by so doing. 14 Every school needs frequent staff meetings.Your first staff meeting should be predominantly an opportunity to get to know each other. Make sure that the agenda contains only a few items (identified by the Principal following initial consultations). Anything that requires serious consideration / decisions should be deferred to a subsequent meeting. It is essential that your first meeting is positive, non-controversial and short! 15 Prior to subsequent staff meetings establish agreed ground rules such as: • Anyone wishing to place an item on the agenda must do so in writing (signed) not less than a week before the meeting • Distributed an agenda a week before the meeting. Aim to spend half of the agenda on curricular and half on administrative items. • Set a time for each topic and make the effort to adhere to it. • Independent of future arrangements, chair staff meetings for at least the first year to establish desired procedures and culture • Consult with staff re. frequency and length of staff meetings • Always start and finish on time • Determine a procedure for dealing with items not covered during the agreed time • Keep records of meetings referring to attendance, decisions taken and agreed actions. Consider involving the school secretary as recording secretary for staff meetings (if appropriate) Distribute records as soon as possible after meeting to ensure clear communication. A template for

16 Encouraging a culture at staff meetings and planning days whereby other members of staff lead discussions and chair sessions and present to the group in a warm non-threatening atmosphere. 17 Encourage innovation within the staff – give them some freedom and whilst you have to take ultimate responsibility, accept that mistakes will have to be made and be tolerated as part of the process of enabling staff to develop in various ways. 18 Make sure all staff is familiar with the agreed Parental Complaints Procedure. A complaint should never be made to you as Principal, unless it has come through the relevant steps of the agreed procedures which involve 5 stages in all. This procedure is outlined in the CPSMA Board of Management Handbook 2007. 19 Establish how teachers Monthly Reports have been collected in the past and if necessary engage with staff in how best this can be done in the future if no system exists. Emphasise the importance of having these notes sent to you on time.

STAFF COMMUNICATIONS 1 Good communications systems serve to keep everybody in the picture and valued. Use a Whiteboard in the Staff Room to notify staff of relevant information e.g. recent DES circulars, policy documents and forthcoming events. Arrange for photocopies of key documents on a request basis or ensure that teaching staff have access to the school network and place important documents there.



2 Ensure that you have structures in place so that staff is constantly up to speed about available resources and services in areas relevant to their educational needs. Establish if an audit of resources has been done in recent years and if not suggest that it may be valuable to do so’. 3 Encourage the social side of staff relations so that people feel part of a team that can socialise together when appropriate. 4 Administrative Principals in particular should ensure that there is time set aside on a regular basis for class visitation so that pupils get to see you regularly and that you get to know the pupils as best you can. 5 Encourage teacher-to-teacher and teacher-to- parent pre-arranged meetings as a first step to helping solve conflicts whilst emphasising your willingness to become involved later in a supportive way if necessary copy section from CPSMA Handbook 2007 relating to Grievance Procedures in relation to parent/teacher concerns. 6 Endeavour to develop a culture whereby teachers and parents who have to meet outside parent/teacher meetings for a formal meeting should arrange to do so in an atmosphere that is removed from the classroom door and at a time mutually agreeable to both parties. 7 It is essential that you are familiar with the agreed procedures by which a staff member can lodge a grievance against a colleague, or members of school management. The official agreed Grievance Procedure involves 4 stages and should be strictly adhered to in the event of a problem arising. This procedure is detailed in the CPSMA Board of Management Handbook 2007 page 208.

CHILDREN 1 Be a visible presence around the school, welcoming, acknowledging, affirming and getting to know people. Consider calling an assembly to introduce yourself and tell the children some detail about yourself. This can also be a celebration of the previous principal where you can publicly thank him/her for all they have done for the school. 2 Give one of the senior classes a project to take a ‘passport-style’ photo of each child in the school with a digital camera and have them arranged in class groupings with names and references to siblings in the school etc. This is the most efficient strategy in getting to know every child’s name – the most basic yet important step in establishing a relationship with the children. 3 Give time to listen to the children. Find out about their lives and enquire from them about their families. 6

4 Acknowledge and affirm the children’s work and give genuine praise. Always try to ‘catch them being good’. 5 Encourage both staff and children to take pride in their school and to get involved in keeping the school environment tidy, attractive and welcoming. Enquire about engaging in the Green Schools Initiative if the school has not previously done so. 6 Don’t allow yourself to become the ‘discipline enforcer’ for class teachers. If anything, the Principal should be the mediator between child, teacher and parent. Always attempt to bring reasonable solutions that are mutually acceptable. 7 Design a simple ‘homework off ’ voucher on your PC. Have a supply of these in your pocket and give the ‘voucher’ in exchange for exceptional good behaviour, assisting staff with various chores, caring for younger children etc.

ADMINISTRATION 1 Teaching Principals account for 75% of all school leaders. In recent years the DES has recognised the need for Teaching Principals to have some non class contact time for ‘administration’. In practice this non contact time is as essential for visiting other class rooms, communication with staff and parents and fulfilling the instructional leadership role. It is essential that you take all your release days. Some Principals pursue different strategies e.g. One day per week - spread throughout the year, blocks of one full week taken at key times during the year or the last 2 weeks in December and June. Availability of a regular substitute teacher will often determine this. If your school is in a good financial position, you may get your Board to supplement these days by ‘buying in’ additional non contact time. DES Circular 25/02 refers to the number of release days for Teaching Principals in Primary Schools. The size of school* refers to the Principal and Mainstream Class teachers only and excludes ex-quota posts e.g. learning support, resource, disadvantage posts etc. Size of School*

No. of Release Days

Principal + 5 / 6 Principal + 3 / 4 Principal + 0 / 1 / 2

22 18 14

2 The Principals’ Information Management System (PIMS) is designed by IPPN to provide you with a system of managing appointments, meetings, planning, memos, events, contracts, etc. Train your Deputy Principal and your secretary to work with you in using PIMS as the key reference point for all school information management. Remember it is a desk diary and should remain in school. CIALL CEANNAITHE

3 Download and complete the Standard School Information Form from the Resources/ Management Resources Section of You will find that you will be repeatedly asked for the same basic school data from different sources. Make no excuses; simply send them your own form. 4 A good communications system helps enormously in the smooth running of a school. A good quality telephone system, with extensions in every room, is a great help with internal and external communications. An intercom system assists clear communications with the children and promotes the sense of belonging in larger schools. Where computer networks have been established, internal email can be a fast and efficient way of sending memos, attendance figures, agendas and notices. It also promotes good teacher -to - teacher communication and is a great way of encouraging the sharing of teaching resources, e.g. templates, sample letters, questionnaires and pictures by placing them on the server for access by everybody. 5 Avoid answering the telephone yourself as it forces you to respond to another person’s agenda and is the single greatest waste of your precious time. The school secretary should screen your calls. In the absence of a secretary, install a good quality answering machine with a recorded message giving clear information which provides answers to the most predictable questions current to the time of year. 6 The use of a dictation machine will simplify the writing of letters and reports. A digital Dictaphone will enable transfer of a letter to a computer for emailing to the person contracted to do the typing. 7 Even if you have an internal email system, ask your caretaker to make a set of mini box shelves also known as ‘Pigeon Holes’. The shelves should be labelled with each staff member’s name and placed in the staffroom. Rather than delivering memos, copies of DES circulars and mail to teachers’ classrooms, place these in the relevant pigeon hole.You then have the advantage of seeing which items have not been collected. 8 Follow the Guidelines for Class Allocation [ Resources/ Management Resources]. The allocation of teachers and children to classes is your responsibility and your prerogative. Begin the consultation process in February/ March. Demonstrate fairness and due process at all times. When you finally make your decision do not allow anybody to persuade you to change it. 9 Teaching Principals should refer to Guidelines for Multigrade Teaching downloadable from [ Resources/ Management Resources]. Teaching

Principals should try to teach a class other than Junior Infants, Second or Sixth Class [Sacramental preparation in Catholic schools]. It is important to communicate the rationale behind this decision to both colleagues and parents. 10 Retain copies of all letters on your computer for future use. They may need little change from year to year and will serve as a record of school communication. 11 When sending home letters and circulars to parents, distribute them only to the eldest child in each family. Teachers will help in drawing up this list. 12 Details of all new enrolments for September should be in by Easter. See (Resources/ Management Resources) for a comprehensive Enrolment Form template. 13 Refer to Appendix A – Essential References for a list of key reference documents, websites and Acts of legislation you will need to be familiar with. 14 Even with the best possible administration system, forms etc can go missing. Copies of most relevant forms are available from 15 Purchase a good quality shredder and have a system whereby you get rid of junk mail on a regular basis. 16 Keep a list of important contact numbers at home e.g. staff, BOM, caretaker, secretary, substitutes sub SNA’s etc. for weekend emergency access if required. This may save you a trip into the school.

SECRETARY 1 Take ten to fifteen minutes each evening or each morning making a list of tasks for the secretary. Discuss with him/her what needs to be done and when you are available for a follow up. 2 If necessary, you may approach the Board of Management about paying the secretary to do a couple of extra hours every now and again to overcome a backlog. 3 Have a filing cabinet in the office that is useful for the Principal and secretary. The secretary is responsible for maintaining the records of the school in the office. 4 The secretary keeps a petty cash for small payments such as stamps, stationery etc. 5 The secretary should deal with all correspondence within the time frame arranged each morning. Copies of all letters need to be maintained.



6 The secretary should remind the Principal of forthcoming events at the appropriate time. 7 The secretary needs to take all phone messages and communicate these to the Principal at an arranged time. 8 The secretary should keep a record of all calls received or made by him/her. 9 Abide by the secretary’s contract as agreed when the appointment was made. Review duties/contract collaboratively on an annual basis.

7 Keep in regular contact with the Treasurer. 8 Guide the BOM so that professional standards apply in all aspects of school life. 9 Ensure that the BOM provides a professional development budget annually and encourage the staff to use it. 10 Draw up a budget with the Treasurer and Chairperson on an annual basis. Work with Board in implementing the budget.

BOARD OF MANAGEMENT 1 Read Boards of Management - A Framework for Good Practice downloadable from It is absolutely essential that you are familiar with this before your first Board meeting. 2 Become familiar with the 1.CPSMA Board of Management Handbook,[ Revised 2007],2. DES Primary Boards of Management Information Manual 2007, 3.Primary Education Management Manual (IPPN and Thompson Roundhall), 4.Rules for National Schools and relevant DES Circulars.

11 Ensure that BOM is familiar with Medmark for medical assessment of staff if required. This information is available on 12 Use the template available in the Resources section of to present your Principals Report to BOM. 13 As Principal you are Secretary of the B.O.M. and are entitled to an allowance from the D.E.S. Ensure that you avail of this allowance.

PARENTS 3 Where possible give back managerial responsibility to the Board of Management. Boards of Management – A Framework for Good Practice recommends that designated BoM members assume responsibility for certain aspects of school management. The appointment of a new Principal may be an opportune time to look at appropriate roles for members. 4 Make sure that both you and the Chairperson are thoroughly familiar with the appointments procedure for permanent teachers, temporary teachers, special needs assistants, secretaries and caretakers. Procedures are outlined in the CPSMA Handbook and updated from time to time in DES Circulars. Access to DES Circulars can be made through the homepage of Please Refer to CPSMA website in order to view the documentation available in relation to Appointment Procedures and follow them meticulously. 5 On the same basis, make sure that all members of the Board are familiar with the parental complaints procedure and the staff grievance procedure. A lot of time is wasted at BoM meetings dealing with issues which have been sprung onto the agenda that can easily be resolved if correct procedures are used. 6 The Principal teacher cannot, under any circumstance fulfil the role of Treasurer. 8

1 It is essential that you are familiar with the agreed procedures by which a parent can make a complaint to the school. The Complaints Procedure (p. 187) in the CPSMA Board of Management Handbook 2007 (update due 2008) has five essential steps, which are summarised here. Please refer to the Handbook for the specific details. i. Parent/guardian who wishes to make a complaint approaches the class teacher with a view to resolving the complaint. If unresolved, the parent/guardian approaches the Principal Teacher. If the matter is still unresolved, the parent/guardian raises the matter with the Chairperson of the Board of Management. ii. If still unresolved, the parent/guardian can lodge the complaint in writing with the Chairperson of the Board of Management. The Chairperson brings the precise nature of the complaint to the notice of the teacher and seeks to resolve the matter within 5 school days of receipt of the written complaint. iii.If not resolved informally, the Chairperson supplies the teacher with a copy of the complaint and arranges a meeting with the teacher and if applicable the Principal Teacher with a view to resolving the complaint. iv. If still unresolved, the Chairperson makes a formal report to the Board within 10 school days of the meeting referred to in (iii). If the Board deems the complaint to be unsubstantiated, the teacher and complainant are informed within 3 school days of the Board meeting. If the Board deems the complaint to be substantiated, the Board informs the teacher that CIALL CEANNAITHE

the investigation is proceeding to the next stage and provides the teacher with any written evidence supporting the complaint. The teacher is given an opportunity to make their case to the Board and can be accompanied and assisted by a friend. The Board can arrange to meet the parent/guardian if necessary and the complainant can be accompanied and assisted by a friend. The meeting of the Board must take place within 10 school days of the initial meeting with the teacher referred to in (iv). v. When the Board completes its investigation, the Chairperson conveys the decision in writing to the teacher and the complainant within 5 school days of the Board meeting. The decision of the Board is final.

iii.regularly visiting educational websites including 3 Join a Principals’ support group. 4 Become involved with your local county network. If clusters exist use their support and advice on local issues. 5 Attend the annual IPPN conference and other professional development events aimed at Principals. 6 Get to know the Principals in your local schools and do not be slow in seeking their advice. It may be possible to visit their schools to share good practice. Always acknowledge their help and support.

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT 2 Parents are a tremendous asset to the Principal, but can also be a contributor to conflict, pressure or stress. Managed properly through proactive communication, there are far more opportunities than risks for new Principals working with parents. 3 Establish the requirement that all visitors, including parents, make an appointment to see you. This may require you to write to parents and potential visitors to establish this practice. 4 When you meet parents and other visitors listen well and sincerely. Establish eye contact with the person and listen without distraction. Record key discussion points, decisions and actions and file carefully. Make your own professional assessment of the situation and avoid being forced into important decisions. There are few situations where one is not entitled to 24 hours to reflect. Buy time and use that time to consult with teacher, Chairperson, local Principal, mentor, IPPN. 5 In a difficult meeting with parents have the Deputy Principal or the teacher on the Board of Management present to support you and to take notes. Note: The parent may also have another person present. 6 Through your relationship with parents build links with the wider community. 7 IPPN/NPC recently launched a new publication that is an invaluable document.

1 Separate your personal and professional lives. Professional criticism may sting but will ultimately lead to improved performance and effective self evaluation. Personal criticism hurts and can destroy self esteem. 2 Have your priorities right with regard to family/ personal life and professional life. Be aware of your own limitations and needs. 3 Do not set yourself impossible goals and remember nobody can do everything perfectly. 4 Never take personal offence if a decision taken is criticised. 5 Resist an instant reaction when informed of something that might seem to be leading to possible conflict/confrontation and always play for time so that you can deal with the matter in a more even-handed manner at a later stage. 6 When trying to resolve a conflict always inform people about each step that you take so that everything is transparent and that nobody has any fears that you may be doing something unwittingly behind their back. Always schedule a time/date to review progress in relation to the issue’ . 7 Maintain a positive outlook. Cultivate your sense of humour.Your personality will dictate much of the culture of the school. If you feel tense or angry, talk to a trusted friend.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT 1 Manage yourself, and not time, by using the Principals’ Information Management System (PIMS). 2 Try to keep up to date with educational developments generally by: i. ensuring that you subscribe to and scan daily ii. reading Leadership+ and other educational magazines

8 Build in a time to relax during the school day every day. A few minutes break will help you to operate more effectively. Remember the time to relax is when you think you don’t have time for it! 9 Develop friendships and social contacts outside of education so that you have a wider perspective on life generally.



10 Develop strategies to help you not to “take your work home with you” all of the time. 11 Try not to neglect your favourite hobbies. 12 Try to maintain healthy habits particularly daily exercise. 13 Keep a healthy balance in your regular day so that everything is in proportion. 14 Take steps to maintain yourself in the best shape you can mentally, physically and psychologically being mindful of the fact that you can only give of your best when you are at your best. 15 Try to keep a sense of perspective at all times. 16 Take time to think through decisions such as: i. Will I stay on in school for a period after school and then take home absolutely no school work of any sort? Or ii. Will I leave school early and put time aside later in the evening for administrative work etc.? iii.Will I put as much as possible of my administration work on my laptop (provided by the school) so that I can work away from the school during summer holiday time? 17 Always make time to have lunch – close your door or find a quiet space where you will not be disturbed’. 18 Make good use of your local network of principals and attend at any meetings which are scheduled. They will provide you with invaluable insight and knowledge’.




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Day 1

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Familiarise yourself with the Principal’s Information Management System (PIMS). If you haven’t received one, contact the IPPN Support Office - 1890 21 22 23. Request the allocation of an experienced Principal mentor. Contact the IPPN Support Office as above. Seek permission from the Chairperson to gain access to the school. Ask Chairperson if there are any urgent / time critical issues that need to be dealt with before school opens. Familiarise yourself with recent correspondence which may have a bearing on your first few days e.g. late enrolments, staff appointments Request briefing from outgoing Principal and / or Deputy Principal. Request hand-over file from outgoing Principal – start using PIMS at this point. Prepare a list of questions for the outgoing Principal - refer to Chapter 5 of this document. Arrange to meet Deputy Principal. Arrange to meet Secretary and Caretaker. Establish names of all staff, BoM, Parents Association, SENO, EWO and Inspector Offer to meet staff (if appointed before schools close in June). If you are a Teaching Principal, be well prepared for your first term’s teaching, make sure you go on holiday - so you start on a ‘full tank’. If appointed before June, make every effort to visit the staff room to meet the new staff informally at least once. They will be curious to see you and the informality of the occasion will help break the ice. Bring some cakes or buns with you – always a welcome treat. Check if there are bus companies providing transport for pupils to school and ensure that you get their contact details. Have plenty of prompts prominently displayed for yourself in your office – names, telephone numbers, school floor plan if in a large school etc. Has the school got security and who is expected to be available in the event of a callout? If your school is a Catholic School, it may be helpful to meet the local Parish Priest and ascertain who will be liaising with you for Sacramental Preparation. Is there a Parish Team? Does the school have particular schemes available which offer financial support to necessitous families and is there a designated co-ordinator? Be early so you can meet and greet staff and pupils as they arrive Hold a general assembly to introduce yourself to children. Visit all class rooms. Have fun with the children. Remember the main means by which parents learn about you and form opinions is through the stories their children tell. Send introductory note to parents via children/school weebsite.



Week 1

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Month 1

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Term 1


Arrange appointments to formally meet with Chairperson of BoM (in Week 2) and Chairperson of Parents’ Association (in Week 3). Ask staff to identify any urgent / time critical issues requiring decisions / actions in Week 1. Involve your Deputy Principal and Secretary in using your PIMS desk diary to plan activities, schedule appointments and record key school information. Arrange a date for your first staff meeting – refer to Chapter re staff meetings. Arrange appointments to meet all staff individually before first staff meeting to get to know them – particularly NQT’s. Arrange to have a senior member of staff to act as mentor to NQT if no formal system is in place. Arrange meeting with In-School Management Team & Special Education Team. Arrange meeting with SNA’s. Ask staff, Deputy Principal and Chairperson to identify any time critical issues requiring decisions that must be addressed within Month 1 Familiarise yourself with arrangements for Special Education Needs - key unresolved issues and actions needed. Enrol for the Misneach programme for New Principals. The school census form (Statistics) will need to be returned online before the end of October. Collaborate with your Deputy Principal and school secretary re the information that will be required for these returns. Check last years’ returns to cross reference information. Monitor enrolments with regard to implications for staffing next year. Arrange time with Special Education Teachers to further familiarise yourself with Special Needs provision and unresolved Special Education Issues. Contact the Special Education Support Service for advice and direction. Meet SENO/NEPS Psychologist. Hold your first staff meeting – take advice from your mentor on how to handle this meeting. Also refer to Chapter 1 re. staff meetings. Communicate school closures/calendar for this year to parents, children & staff. Consider using to facilitate this and other communications to parents and staff. Ensure that the school calendar has been recorded on the OLCS. Ask about existing arrangement re the taking of EPV Days. If no policy is in place, ask the assistance of ISM Team in establishing a fair system and start as you mean to go on. Is there a school website in operation? Perhaps an introductory letter from you an NAP might be possible?

Resist inclination to change anything in your first year. Refer to Chapter 1 for advice on managing change where there is an expectation on you to alter existing practices. ● Refer to PIMS Planning Prompts for September, October, November and December for key activities. ● Arrange time to familiarise yourself with the teaching and learning throughout the school. This is your primary function as Principal. ● Meet the general body of parents. Seek the advice of your mentor on handling this meeting. Prepare well and make sure your first encounter with the parent body is a positive one. Set down your vision for future collaboration with PA. ● Along with the Chairperson, arrange first BoM meeting for the new school year- take advice from your mentor on how to handle this meeting. Also refer to the Principals’ Report to the BoM template in the BoM section of PIMS. ● As you become familiar with school activities during the course of the year, use the Planning Prompts in PIMS to record issues that may need to be addressed by the In-School Management team and/or whole staff. ● Use the Reminders sheet in your PIMS desk diary (on the back of the 2010/2011 overview) to record what needs to be done differently next year, with the benefit of hindsight.


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Term 2

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Term 3

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Make some non controversial change which is visible to visitors arriving to the school, it might be a simple paint job or a flag pole, playground markings or a new sign – it is important that you express yourself in a gentle but obvious manner in year 1. Familiarise yourself with the School Plan – Plean Scoile. Familiarise yourself with last Whole School Evaluation Report / Tuairisc Scoile. Display lists of important dates in staff room – including dates for ISM meetings, visits from NEPS Psychologist etc. Add to the list as the year progresses so that everyone is informed. Ensure that all relevant contracts of employment have been distributed, discussed as appropriate, signed and returned. Consult with your Chairperson. Refer to PIMS Planning Prompts for January, February and March for key activities. Organise a filing system in the Principal’s/Secretary’s office which matches the index in your PIMS desk diary. Meet Education Welfare Officer (EWO). Appoint a teacher to liaise with your local Education Support Centre. Familiarise yourself with school’s financial situation (grants, fundraising etc).Ensure that school accounts have been sent to accountant for annual audit. Examine and familiarise yourself with standardised test results. How are they recorded? Commence the Class Allocation process in February – see IPPN Guidance on Class Allocation (Appendix K). Arrange to meet Primary Professional Development Service (PPDS) facilitator. Arrange to attend the Annual IPPN Conference and get BOM approval for you absence. Consult with your D.P. re arrangements for your absence. Make provisional arrangements around possible staff changes/appointments/retirements/ Career Breaks/Job sharing etc. Refer to PIMS Planning Prompts for April, May and June for key activities. Start planning with your Deputy and ISM team (if relevant) for September. Celebrate success with staff, children and & parents – observe and analyse staff dynamics – particularly transparent during social events – measure your own participation carefully. Ensure that BOM approval has been received for all school tours and supervisors accompanying teachers on tours. Establish an agreed supervision ratio for pupils on school trips/outings. Arrange to meet School Inspector. Communicate school closures/calendar for following year to parents, children & staff. Discuss with your Secretary what work you will require her/him to do during the summer months if appropriate. This is an ideal time to have plans etc re typed and placed in folders for teachers. Discuss summer work with your Caretaker – painting, gardening etc. Make a ‘to do’ list together. Ensure that all contractors engaged to do repairs/painting etc during summer closure have submitted copies of their Insurance and H&S documents to BOM. Inform school insurer if works are to be conducted over summer months. Arrange for procedures for staff who wish to have access to school during summer months. Ensure that NEWB final returns have been submitted.



3 GOOD PRACTICE FOR TEACHING PRINCIPALS STANDARD SCHOOL INFORMATION FORM Download and complete the IPPN Standard School Information Form from the IPPN website and, whenever you are asked for data for your school, instead of completing yet another form, simply attach your own.

PIMS In your role as Principal, you need an effective system of managing all information relating to appointments, meetings, planning, memos, events, contacts etc. The Principals’ Information Management System (PIMS) does all of this and more. It just requires you to become familiar with its contents and start using it. Ideally, the Deputy Principal and Secretary should work together with you in using PIMS as the key reference point for all school information management. Remember it is a desk diary (not a filing cabinet) it should not be taken from the school. If you need to carry a diary to meetings where further meetings will be planned, take a photocopy of the pages that relate to the next four or five weeks and merge the information with your desk diary on return.

TELEPHONE SYSTEM A lot of time is wasted with cordless telephones being sent around the school when calls are received for members of staff. In all other workplaces, a telephone system with extensions in every room facilitates the transfer of calls without unnecessary time-wasting.

recording clipboard so they can record messages accurately and distribute accordingly.

ANSWERING MACHINE Install a good quality answering machine for times when there is no-one able to answer the telephone or when you cannot be interrupted. Record a message which contains relevant information regarding school closures, forthcoming events, which will answer predictable questions coming from parents at different times of the year.

DICTATION Save time by purchasing a dictation machine which will do away with the need to write out letters and memos by hand. A digital Dictaphone system will enable you to transfer the file on a memory card to a laptop and allow you to email it as an attachment to whoever is contracted for typing your required document. It can be then e-mailed back to you for proof reading.

TIMETABLE/SCHEDULE Refer to the Suggested Timetable for Teaching Principals in the PIMS desk diary. If you don’t take control of your working week, what you do and when you do it, then everybody else will! It’s a question of taking a proactive approach to timetabling rather than being constantly in reaction mode to others needs. If you stand in the corridor long enough, everyone will know they can come by and give you something to do.

PIGEON HOLE TELEPHONE ANSWERING The last person who should answer the telephone in the school is the busiest person i.e. you. If you don’t have a fulltime secretary, ensure your staff, including temporary and part-time staff members know how to answer the telephone politely and professionally. Use a standardised message 14

Rather than delivering memos, copies of DES circulars and mail to teachers’ classrooms, install a simple ‘pigeon hole’ system labelled with each staff member’s name in the staff room into which everything that’s relevant can be placed. You then have the advantage of seeing which items have not been collected. CIALL CEANNAITHE

MEMOS Set up an internal mailing system for memo’s which each teacher becomes accustomed to. This is a great time saving facility. A lot of staff meeting time is taken up informing colleagues of things that have happened, things that are going to happen etc. which aren’t for discussion or decision-making. This kind of information can be easily disseminated in the form of a written memo and placed in each staff member’s ‘pigeon hole’.

DELEGATION Aside from the formal Posts of Responsibility and the duties therein, it is advisable to learn how to delegate work to other members of staff. This informal delegation doesn’t just happen, it requires initiative. Research shows that many teachers are more than willing to help out their Principal but they report that they believe their Principals are reluctant to ‘let go’. If you meet with your staff on a regular basis, and if you are communicating what you are doing in your role as Principal, it should be easier to describe your priorities and consequently the many tasks which you cannot get around to. Develop the habit of simply asking if any of your colleagues would be willing to ‘help’ by undertaking some of these tasks. Don’t underestimate your colleagues’ willingness to help out but remember that they are unlikely to do so if you don’t ask. Thank people for a job well done and for their support.

STAFF MEETINGS Notwithstanding the regulation for three staff meetings per annum (one per term), further regular staff meetings should be held. Short meetings with one or two key focus points are generally more productive. Try to have at least one point on the agenda that will lead to improved staff satisfaction arising from progress on matters of joint concern. This is a key motivation for staff to contribute time to further staff meetings. If a member of staff wishes to put an item on the agenda for a staff meeting, ask them to prepare a document in advance of the meeting on the topic with a focus on the progress/solution they wish to achieve. Refer to Guidelines on Staff Meetings - download from (Resources/Management Resources).

NETWORKING/CLUSTERING Get to know your local Principals. An effective way of doing this is to make contact by telephone and seek advice on something relevant. Try and arrange an invite to visit their school. Take the opportunity to learn from their good practice, access their resources etc. Make sure that you reciprocate the above and always acknowledge with your own colleagues the benefits your school has gained from such collaboration. If you see value in this, it might be helpful to form informal clusters with your local Principals to share experiences, pool resources etc. on an ongoing

basis. Refer to the IPPN publication New Horizons for Smaller Schools and Teaching Principals (downloadable from – Resources/Publications) for more information on clustering.

BOARD OF MANAGEMENT Read the CPSMA Board of Management Handbook 2007 and be familiar in particular with the key procedures such as appointing staff, parental complaints, staff grievances etc. Refer also to Boards of Management – A Framework for Good Practice.

CLASS ALLOCATION Follow the Guidelines for Class Allocation downloadable from (Resources/ Management Resources). Begin the consultation process in February/March. Make sure your colleagues are clear that it is your responsibility and your prerogative. Demonstrate fairness, due process, stick to your guns. As a Teaching Principal, you should try if at all possible not to allocate sixth class or second class to yourself given the additional workload attached to Confirmation and First Communion (in the case of Catholic schools). The same applies to Junior Infants and sixth class considering the increased volume of communication with parents in both cases. One of the recommendations of the Hay Group analysis of the role of Principal teacher is that Teaching Principals should allocate themselves a smaller number of children in a more manageable teaching role. In order to achieve this, you must rationale for same.

MULTI-GRADE TEACHING Refer to Guidelines for Multi-grade Teaching - download from (Resources/Management Resources).

COMMUNICATING YOUR ROLE Develop the practice of making other people aware of your role and what you are accountable for. If you fail to make others clear about your role, two things will happen. First, the role needs and pressures experienced by other staff members will become the dominant workload issues. Second, in the absence of clarity about your role everyone else will define your role based on what they expect from you.You cannot expect colleagues who have never been in your role to understand it unless you communicate it clearly to them.

C H A P T E R 3 : G O O D P R A C T I C E F O R T E A C H I N G P R I N C I PA L S









Meet Deputy Principal & Secretary

Meet Deputy Principal & Secretary

Meet Deputy Principal & Secretary

Meet Deputy Principal & Secretary

Meet Deputy Principal & Secretary

Prioritise & Delegate

Prioritise & Delegate

Prioritise & Delegate

Prioritise & Delegate

Prioritise & Delegate






Delegate Yard Supervision

Delegate Yard Supervision

Delegate Yard Supervision

Delegate Yard Supervision

Delegate Yard Supervision

Available to meet individual teachers

Available to meet individual SEN teacher(s)

Available to meet individual SNAs

Available to meet individual teachers

Available to meet individual teachers






Lunch Break

Lunch Break

Lunch Break

Lunch Break

Lunch Break

No Interruptions

No Interruptions

No Interruptions

No Interruptions

No Meetings

No Meetings

No Meetings

No Meetings

Yard Supervision


Allocate children to other teacher(s) eg:Music, PE, etc.


Allocate children to other teacher(s)eg: Music, PE, etc.


Meet Deputy Principal & ISM Team

Allocate time to visit other classrooms

Meet Deputy Principal & ISM Team

Allocate time to visit other classrooms

Meet Deputy Principal & ISM Team


Block 1

Morning Break

Block 2


Block 3

Meet Deputy Principal & ISM Team

Meet Deputy Principal & ISM Team



Discuss, Prioritise & Delegate

Discuss, Prioritise & Delegate

Discuss, Prioritise & Delegate

Discuss, Prioritise & Delegate

Discuss, Prioritise & Delegate


4 TEACHING PRINCIPALS: A P OSSIBLE APPROACH TO TIMETABLING Refer to Figure 4.1 on page 16 1 This is not a blueprint but merely an example to encourage creative thinking on Successful Time Management, this timetable is available to download from (Resources/Management Resources/PIMS). It can be customised to suit your own professional needs and practice.

6 Develop a policy of meetings by appointment. Communicate this policy clearly to Parents, Salespersons etc. 7 Delegate function of answering telephone, opening e-mail/post and receiving visitors to the school secretary. Where secretary is unavailable delegate the function to other staff members and/or senior pupils, provide training as required.

2 Proactive communication, collective prioritising and delegation of tasks to others, are all essential for effective leadership.

8 Install an answering machine where the caller’s voice is audible while he/she is leaving the message.

3 Blocking time for specific functions eliminates much of the continuous flow of low order questions. Ensure everyone knows where and when you are available.

9 Use a digital dictaphone system to record memos, letters, reports etc. which can be word-processed by the secretary at a later stage.

4 The simultaneous demands of Teaching Principalship make it an extremely challenging role. Invite all your colleagues to assist in designing and reviewing your timetable. This may help them to appreciate the demands on your time and a greater understanding of the need to share the workload.

10 Book a substitute teacher early in the year and pre-plan your administration days for tasks requiring you undivided attention. Pre-advise colleagues of these days and make yourself scarce!

5 Send routine information and updates to all colleagues by memo. This will leave formal staff meeting time free for meaningful discussion of more important issues.

C H A P T E R 4 : T E A C H I N G P R I N C I PA L S : A P O S S I B L E A P P R O A C H TO T I M E TA B L I N G



APPOINTED FROM WITHIN THE S CHOOL STAFF Many Principals are appointed from within the school’s own staff and begin their leadership role working with the same people they worked with before their appointment. If you are in such a situation, you need to realise from an early stage that relationships with colleagues will change and it is worthwhile to be prepared for this change and be realistic about it. In most cases there will be a ‘honeymoon’ period for the newly-appointed Principal and it would be wise to use this early positive period to asses your support and build on it. The advice garnered from Principals who have had experience of this situation is:

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Be very sensitive to other staff who may have applied for the Principalship and try to involve and include them as much as possible. While you need to be sensitive to the disappointment of other candidates, you may also need to be prepared to insist on a professional relationship, as a minimum, if the resentment is very obvious, as may be the case. Make very few changes in the first year. Create goodwill by making some small positive changes that will improve life for the staff. Be clear about your vision with staff and Board of Management (BoM). Good communication is key to positive relationships. Set up effective staff communication structures from the start e.g.: - Give time to each staff member in the first month for one-to-one consultation - Give extra time to staff members who applied for the Principalship - Arrange well-run staff meetings with time for discussion - Internal email, telephone system, effective PA system

Establish good working relationship with Chairperson and BoM. Establish good communications with parents and include them in policy formulation. Get the help of the school secretary to manage time. Manage phone calls effectively. Ask for help from: - the Deputy Principal - the ISM Team - the BoM - the Parents’ Association.


6 N EW PRINCIPAL - N EW SCHOOL While the initial euphoria of success at interview is still ringing in the ears of the Newly Appointed Principal of the newly sanctioned school, there is an overwhelming sense of ‘what should I be doing?’ and ‘where should I start?’.

The following points of advice have been drafted based on the experience of a number of Principals whose first appointment was to a new school on a green field site. There are many factors unique to starting as Principal in a new school. Each situation will be unique, but this guidance may help those in a start-up situation as it is based on the experience of colleagues. It addresses the period from the date the Principal is appointed until the school opens its doors for the first time. The various steps do not need to be followed in the exact order and are intended as a general guide.


An initial introductory meeting with the group of parents who have enrolled children in the new school is a first priority. It serves to reassure these parents and establish their confidence that the school is up and running. It is an important opportunity to introduce yourself to the parent body as the Principal and the first staff member of the new school. It is advisable to advertise the introductory meeting in the local media. Together with the Board of Management, ensure that leases for temporary premises are legally secured and signed. The BoM must arrange Insurance for the premises and contents. A representative of the insurers will provide guidance on how to proceed and assess the property. With the Chairperson of the BoM, ensure that a bank

C H A P T E R 6 : N E W P R I N C I PA L - N E W S C H O O L

account has been set up for the school. The initial startup grant and other grants will be lodged into this account. Details of available grants are provided in the Principal’s Information Management System (PIMS). ■ Before the initial meeting, consider a uniform, such as a simple tracksuit, in order to establish an identity from the outset. ■ Uniform shops will provide samples for the initial meeting. ■ Confine the choice to two options to simplify the decision, while still facilitating parental consultation. ■ Order computers – initially a desktop for the office and a laptop for the Principal. ■ Contact the local Special Educational Needs Organiser (SENO) regarding any special educational resources which will need to be in place, based on the information returned on enrolment forms. ■ Order at least two class roll books, one leabhar tinrimh and two clár leabhair from the Department of Education & Science, Athlone at 09064 84122. They need to be ordered in good time. ■ Get a copy of the Management Board Members’ Handbook from offices of the Patron Body. ■ Contact local Principals to join an existing Principals’ Support Group or start one if there isn’t already one established. At the Introductory Meeting, consider providing a simple introductory booklet outlining essential information including: 19

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School calendar for the first term Contact information for the school – a mobile phone is very useful before a landline is available Opening and closing times. Check with neighbouring schools to establish similar times Information regarding uniform Booklist - basic essentials only at this point such as copies Instructions regarding labelling of children’s belongings Healthy Eating Guidelines regarding lunches A sample Code of Behaviour can be found on until the school is in a position to formulate its own policy with staff and parents An enrolment form requesting: - Parents' contact details - Mobile numbers for instant messaging through Texta-Parent - Child’s medical or developmental history - Details of any learning difficulties which may require resource support at school - whether English is an additional language Samples of enrolment forms are available on Ensure that forms will be returned within one week of the meeting. Information on the setting up of a Parents’ Association in accordance with good practice as agreed between IPPN and the National Parents’ Council.

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Order staffroom supplies: Dishes, cutlery, tea towels, tea, coffee, sugar and some treats for the first day Decisions need to be made in with the Board in relation to the usage of the ancillary services grant for secretarial support as well as grounds maintenance/caretaking.


Send a letter of welcome to the parents reminding them of the school’s opening and closing times. Inform them of any teacher appointments and the teachers’ names. Ensure that there is adequate signage around the premises. Ensure classrooms are ready and welcoming for children with basic requisites such as crayons, paper, chalk etc. Give consideration to positive PR for school events by seeking coverage in local newsletters/newspapers/local radio etc.

E. MOST IMPORTANT ADVICE It is essential to take a break before the start of term. School could take over your life entirely, so make sure that you’ve recharged the batteries before you begin the term. It is such a unique privilege to be Principal of a new school on a green field site and to watch a school develop and take shape according to your vision. Enjoy the experience - Go n-éirí leat!

Set a date for a follow-up meeting two or three weeks into September when things are more established and an additional teacher has been appointed.


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Compile a list of furniture requirements. There is a fixed grant at a ‘per classroom’ rate (See the Grant Information section of PIMS). Contact the relevant section of the DES in Tullamore at (057) 9324300. Three quotations must be sought from school furniture providers using the guidelines issued by the DES. Act quickly in order to ensure delivery as soon as possible ahead of opening day. Check on under Network/Noticeboard for a list of School Furniture Providers.


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Establish arrangements for cleaning the school. Some companies provide reasonable quotes and can be a stressfree option initially. This also avoids the additional task of recruitment of cleaners at this stage. Order toilet rolls, soap, towels and some cleaning materials Ensure the staffroom has the essential equipment: Kettle, fridge, microwave, coffee maker etc.


7 FACTUAL I NFORMATION ABOUT YOUR SCHOOL In order to become comfortable discussing issues and answering questions about your school, it is important that you gather information of a factual nature and record it in your PIMS Desk Diary for easy reference. The following list, while not exhaustive, will be a good starting point for you as you plan and prepare to settle in. Some of the items below you will need to acquire and other items you will only need to have access to as required.


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Staff Names, Roles, Contact details, E-mails, Mobile Telephone Numbers Class Lists – Teacher name, class level, pupil names SNA/SEN Pupil arrangements Official School Timetable Supervision Roster Timetables for shared resources – PE, Computer Room, Halla etc. Extra-curricular activities - details

SCHOOL COMMUNITY BoM names, contact details, roles ■ Patron/Education Secretary names, contact details ■ Parents' Association, names, roles and contact details ■ Special Education Needs Organiser (SENO) ■ Education & Welfare Officer (EWO) ■ Cigire Ceantair ■ Roinn Cigire ■ Visiting Teacher Service. ■ School Chaplin/Parish Council ■


School-Parent newsletters Leadership+ (IPPN) Solas (CPSMA)

KEY POLICIES Enrolment ■ Health & Safety ■ Code of Behaviour ■ Bullying Prevention ■ Child Protection Critical Incidents Policy ■ Attendance ■ RSE ■ Record keeping and Data Protection ■ Grievance Procedures. ■ SEN Policy ■ ICT and AUP ■ Teacher Absence and Leave Policy ■

PLANNING ■ Staff Meeting Minutes ■ Class Allocation lists & requests ■ Agreed calendar for school closures ■ SDP records & future plans ■ Enrolment data – projections, trends etc. ■ School Plan - Policies/Plans/resources ■ Refer to PIMS monthly planning prompts

C H A P T E R 5 : FA C T U A L I N F O R M AT I O N A B O U T Y O U R S C H O O L


BOARD OF MANAGEMENT ■ WSE Report ■ Principals' Reports ■ Treasurer ■ Financial Report ■ Budget ■ Procedures for paying BoM employees ■ Bank account numbers, sort codes and bank contact details ■ Cheque books & authorized signatories ■ Credit cards & PINs ■ Grant Schedule/status ■ Minutes of Meetings ■ Staff Seniority List ■ Appointment Procedures for all school staff. (See Management Handbook 2007) ■ Contracts of Employment IN-SCHOOL MANAGEMENT Roles & Responsibilities ■ Minutes of Meetings ■ Date of last review of duties recorded in BOM Minutes ■

GROUNDS/BUILDINGS/FACILITIES Summer Works Scheme applications/status ■ Capital Projects/extensions status ■ Temporary accommodation status ■ Suppliers/Contractors ■ Fire alarm code, contact details and keyholder ■ Burglar alarm code, contact details and keyholder ■ Network/PC/Printer/Website passwords and access codes ■ Priority Works List and five year plan. ■



8 PROFESSIONAL SUPPORTS AVAILABLE TO PRINCIPALS The role of Principal as administrator, manager and leader, is not only a position of great responsibility but also one that is immensely challenging and rewarding. At the time of your appointment it is understandable for one to feel a little overwhelmed at the high volume of information and initiatives requiring your response. IPPN is the recognised professional association for Irish Primary Principals and in this respect we offer you support in a professional capacity.


Every Principal empowered to be an exemplary leader of learning - every teacher inspired to lead every child’s learning.


■ ■

Tacaíocht, Misneach agus Spreagadh.

AIMS ■ ■ ■

Resourcing the professional needs of school leaders Representing school leaders with a credible, professional voice Influencing education policy as an Education Partner


Principal Advice Line – responding to members’ leadership & management challenges Confidential advisory service for individual members Mentoring Programme for newly appointed Principals (in partnership with LDS) Annual Principals’ Conference Annual Deputy Principals’ Conference Regional Professional Seminars with International guest facilitators On-line Course for NAP’s - Ciall Ceannaithe will be available in 2010 26 County Networks hosting 3 professional development events per annum Leadership+ - 6 Newsletters per year – 2 per academic term

■ ■ ■

E-scéal – weekly electronic newsletter - a resource and communication website for school leaders – secure e-mail discussion list for members – a research tool enabling members to contribute to IPPN policy – A web-based bulk text message facility for home – school communication – an interactive web-based advertising facility for teaching vacancies – an on-line facility to recruit substitute teachers by text message

RESEARCH AND PUBLICATIONS (Available at ■ The Value of Leadership? - IPPN (2001) ■ Defining the Role of Primary Principal in Ireland – HayGroup Consultants (2002) ■ Primary Education Management Manual – Thompson Roundhall & IPPN (2003 - 2006) ■ In-School Management – A Critical Review - IPPN (2003) ■ The Future of Small Schools & Teaching Principalship - St. Patrick’s College & IPPN (2004) ■ New Horizons for Smaller Schools - St. Patrick’s College & IPPN (2005) ■ Quality Leadership Quality Learning – proof beyond reasonable doubt - Michael Fullan (2006) ■ Investing in School Leadership – IPPN (2006)

C H A P T E R 8 : P R O F E S S I O N A L S U P P O R T S A V A I L A B L E TO P R I N C I PA L S


■ ■

Giorraíonn Beirt Bóthar – Distributing Leadership - Deputy Principals – IPPN (2007) Supporting Each Other - A Guide to Best Practice for the effective partnership between Principals and Parent Associations. IPPN & NPC –P (2010)

Membership of IPPN has been approved by the DES (Circular 14/02) and the CPSMA as a legitimate expenditure for your BoM as it is a professional association fee. Your school will be issued a receipt in this regard. A membership form will be sent to all schools at the beginning of the new school year. You may also pay your annual subscription by direct debit which is recommended.

KEY SUPPORTS MENTORING IPPN, in conjunction with Leadership Development for Schools (LDS) offers Newly Appointed Principals the support of an experienced Principal in a mentoring capacity. This mentor will be a Principal teacher of a school similar in nature to yours, who will provide you with practical support and guidance in your first year of Principalship. This mentoring service is optional but highly recommended to all Newly Appointed Principals. Benefits include: ■ A non-judgmental ‘listening post’ with whom you can share experiences. ■ Advice on official form-filling as well as contacts in DES & other agencies. ■ Confidential objective advice, when required, on any key decisions you need to make in your first year of Principalship. If you would like the support of a mentor please contact the support office on 1890 21 22 23. PRINCIPAL ADVICE IPPN provides a confidential Principal Advice service to members. A panel of experienced Principals have made themselves available to talk you through crisis situations that may arise in your school. Calls are made to IPPN’s Support Office and are then assigned to a member of the advice line with expertise in each specific area. Calls are returned within 24 hours or sooner, depending on the urgency of the call. Please call 1890 21 22 23 if you need to speak to a member of the Principal Advice Team. MAILING LISTS – A group mailing list for Principals Appointed in 2010 This is a ‘closed’ mailing list. This means that it is a private mailing list for Principals who have been appointed in the calendar year 2010. The purpose of the mailing list is to 24

provide Newly Appointed Principals (NAPs) with an opportunity to engage in professional dialogue on-line where they can shareexperiences, posequestions, consider scenarios etc. NAPs will engage in their own problem-solving and sharing of ideas with the facilitation and support of an experienced Principal. This mailing list facility is designed to act as a complimentary service to Ciall Ceannaithe, the Misneach (LDS) Programme, the Mentoring Service, all of which blend together to provide a more comprehensive level of support and guidance for NAPs. For general queries relating to the day to day running of your school, requesting resources or policy templates, is a mailing list for all Principals to share experiences and knowledge.Very rarely does a situation arise in one school that another Principal has not already dealt with in another part of the country. For more specific advice of a professional nature, is a closed mailing list with answers to queries coming from a selected panel of Principals with a track record in providing sound advice to colleagues. All questions and answers submitted are available to read by members allowing colleagues to learn from the experiences of others. All new members will be automatically subscribed to these mailing lists. An ‘unsubscribe’ feature is available should you wish to leave any of the mailing lists. As a participant you will have a unique opportunity to share with colleagues, issues of primary concern to you, both personally and professionally in your new role. During the day, you will be engaged in workshops facilitated by experienced school leaders; in the evening, you will be invited to share a meal and unwind with your colleagues. LDS makes every effort to ensure that Misneach is highly relevant to each participant and, therefore try to ensure whenever possible that principals of similar sized schools in local catchment areas are grouped together for modules. Further information on Misneach is available from LDS on 065 6845505 and from COMMERCIAL SERVICES AVAILABLE TO PRINCIPAL TEACHERS – PRINCIPALS’ DESK DIARY - PIMS A complimentary copy of PIMS will be distributed in early June. If you have not received one by the end of term, please contact IPPN’s Support Office on 1890 21 22 23. SCOILTEL ScoilTel, IPPN’s landline telephone service, offer provides packages to suit your school’s requirements: CIALL CEANNAITHE

ScoilTel bundle: Our bundles allow you to tailor a package based on your schools current spend.We have a range of boltons available from 200 minutes of national calls right up to 1000 minutes and mobile calls from 50 minutes to 1000 minutes. These Bolt-ons are guaranteed to provide you with savings from 15% up to 40% when compared to Eircom. Enquiries: 1890 701 801 PUPIL PERSONAL ACCIDENT INSURANCE The most effective strategy you can take to reduce / eliminate litigatio against your school is to implement the Pupil Personal Accident Insurance scheme. Options include school-time and 24-hour cover. In the event of an accident, parents no longer need to sue the school for negligence as they can claim directly from this scheme. Enquiries to 01 6133966. ENERGIA Save 10% on your electricity and Gas costs Save at least 10% on your schools’ electricity and gas costs when you switch to Energia. 100% of the electricity supplied to you comes from our green renewable portfolio both reducing your C02 emissions and maximizing your energy savings.* Enquiries: 091 384 138 E:

Irish Business Systems IBS is the largest Distributor of Xerox products in Ireland including photocopiers, multi-functional devices, printers, faxes and document management solutions. ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■

Guaranteed 2-hour response time 37 years expertise 65 strategically located Service Engineers ISO 9001:2000 Quality Assured Company Strong commitment to the Environment including Energy Star, Blue Angel Mark and RoHS compliant Branches in Cork, Dublin, Limerick, Galway, Laois, Sligo, Donegal, Wexford and Waterford

Contact: Freephone 1800 23 00 00

C H A P T E R 6 : P R O F E S S I O N A L S U P P O R T S A V A I L A B L E TO P R I N C I PA L S


Appendix A Essential References LEGISLATION ■ The Education Act (1998) ■ Education Welfare Act (2000) ■ Health, Safety and Welfare Act (2005) ■ Education for Persons with Special Education Needs Act (2004) All Acts of Legislation are available at REFERENCES Primary Education Management Manual – Thompson Roundhall & IPPN (2003 – 2006) ■ Board of Management Handbook – CPSMA (2008) ■ Primary Boards of Management Information Manual Nov – DES (2007) ■ Boards of Management – A Framework for Good Practice – CPSMA & IPPN (2003) ■ Quality Leadership Quality Learning - Proof beyond reasonable doubt – Professor Michael Fullan & IPPN (2006) ■ Giorraíonn Beirt Bóthar - Distributing Leadership Deputy Principals – IPPN (2007) ■ New Horizons for Smaller Schools – St. Patrick’s College & IPPN (2005) ■ Defining the Role of The Primary Principal in Ireland – HayGroup Consultants (2002) ■ In-School Management – A Vision for Good Practice – Draft Position Paper – IPPN (2005) ■ Looking at our school – an Aid to Self-Evaluation – DES Inspectorate (2005) ■ Supporting each Other - A Guide to Best Practice for the effective partnership between Principals and Parent Associations’. ■

KEY WEBSITES ■ ■ – Teaching vacancy advertising ■ ■ ■ - DES ■ For a comprehensive list of websites, refer to PIMS under ‘Contacts’




Appendix B Essential Resources Every profession has essential ‘tools for the trade’. Traditionally, Principals have operated without many such essentials. Irrespective of the size of your school, you should make sure that your employers i.e. the Board of Management are aware of their need to equip you in a manner that you can fulfil your leadership and management responsibilities. The following list is not exhaustive but should be used as a checklist at your first Board of Management meeting.You have been employed to do a job; therefore you are entitled to the resources and equipment necessary for that job. ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■

A Principal’s office Laptop computer Mobile telephone Digital Dictaphone E-mail address specifically for school business PIMS desk diary Secretary/Administrator With PC Skills ● Desktop computer, laser printer, scanner ● Office software (word processing, email, spreadsheets, database) ● Broadband internet access ● School email address ● Photocopier ● Telephone system with an extension in each classroom ● Intercom system ● Telephone answering machine ● An indexed filing system ● School year wall planner ● School letterhead, envelopes, compliments slips, business cards ● Other office requisites ● Shredder Caretaker/Janitor ● Store room ● Maintenance equipment and supplies ● Cleaning equipment and supplies



Appendix C Monthly Planning Prompts The following pages provide a one-page-per-month overview of the key planning and other tasks that fall into particular months in the school year. They are available in loose-leaf format in the PIMS folder and can be placed either within the relevant week/month of the Appointments Diary section or kept at the front of the folder with other planning tools such as the Today’s Priorities sheet.


A P P E N D I X C : M O N T H LY P L A N N I N G P R O M P T S


Appendix D Procedures For Recruiting A Teacher Note: These steps apply to both permanent and temporary vacancies. 1 Notify the Board of Management of the vacancy and the reason for it. 2 Check the following: ■ That the Diocesan Redeployment Panel is clear ■ With the Department if your enrolment is falling ■ If vacancy occurs after 1st June, vacancy is filled on a temporary basis until September 1st. Advertise vacancy on in accordance with DES Circular 62/2008. The closing date must not be less than two weeks from the last date the advertisement appears on the website. To allow for the changeover to web based advertising, until the 31st December 2008 the following sentence must also appear in a daily national newspaper: ‘Permanent/fixed-termed/part-time teacher required from 1 September, 2008 St. Mary’s NS, Bray RN12345X. See www…………for details’ (Board of management to insert name of relevant website).

12 Assemble documentation - CV, References, etc. 13 With the Chairperson, arrange a suitable comfortable venue, with an appropriate person to act as receptionist for the interviews. 14 After the interview the chairperson retains: ■ Record of Applicants ■ Record of Interview Criteria ■ Record of Selection board’s recommendation including marking scheme and marks allocated to each candidate. ■ Record of any notes taken during interviews 15 Submit Selection Board’s Recommendation to the BoM in writing. 16 Submit the Board of Management’s decision in writing to the Patron for sanction. 17 Notify the successful candidate and confirm acceptance in writing.

3 If the vacancy is for a Principalship notify the other members of staff by placing the advertisement on the Staffroom notice board.

If this is a first appointment for the successful candidate they should be directed to the website in order to fill a PreEmployment Questionnaire in accordance with Circular 65/2008

4 If the advertisement states the following: A list of suitable applicants may be set up from which future vacancies, which occur within four months of the date of this advertisement, may be filled, there would then be no obligation to advertise a vacancy falling within the following four month period.

Chairperson and teacher fill Notification of Primary Teacher Appointment Form [PTAF1] available on the DES website under Personnel and Primary. This application form was introduced in July 2008 and supersedes all other Appointment Forms.

5 Teachers on approved leave should be notified by post. It is a good idea to register such post.

18 Notify all unsuccessful applicants in writing and return documentation.

6 Request the Patron to appoint a Selection Board.

19 File and secure all relevant documents safely.

7 Record full list of applicants.

20 Sign Contracts between Chairperson and Newly Appointed Teacher. The DES will usually forward the relevant Contract to the school for signature by both employer and employee. It is absolutely essential to be in compliance with Employment Law to sign a contract for every employee. A temporary Teacher gets a Fixed Term Contract and a Permanent Teacher gets a Contract of Indefinite Duration. Contract Forms are available in the BoM Handbook 2007, Pages 105, 107

8 If the vacancy is for a Principalship, ensure that applicants fulfil criteria set down by the Department of Education and Science for appointment. (See Circular 02/02 – also on DES website). 9 Submit list to the Selection Board. 10 Shortlist for interview according to criteria established by the Selection Board. (See for Sample Criteria and Marking Scheme which can be adapted). Critéir as Gaeilge le fáil ansin freisin. 11 Notify the candidates of date and time of their interview, giving at least one clear week’s notice. Ask for confirmation of attendance in writing by including an Attendance Confirmation Sheet for signing with the notification.


21 The completed PTAF1 Form should be forwarded immediately to Primary Payments, DES, Cornamaddy, Athlone, Co. Westmeath.

22 Register NQT for Diploma if appropriate.


Appendix E Procedures For Making An Appointment To The In-School Management Team as per DES Circular 07/03 1 Notify BoM of vacancy. 2 Consult with staff, including staff on approved leave, concerning the menu of duties which should reflect the current needs of the school. 3 The Chairperson in consultation with the Principal assigns specific duties to the post from the agreed menu of duties. 4 Place advertisement on staffroom notice board. Send the advertisement by registered post to teachers on approved leave at their current contact address. 5 Leave advertisement in place for five consecutive school days inclusively. 6 Closing date for receipt of applicants must be not earlier than ten school days inclusively from the last date of the posting of the notice.

15 Post offer on Staffroom Notice board with appropriate wording from Circular 07/03. Notice remains on notice board for ten school days to allow for any consequent appeal. 16 Send by registered post a copy of the offer to all teachers on leave who presented for interview. 17 If after ten school days there is no appeal then notify the successful candidate and ask him/her to confirm acceptance in writing. 18 Notify all the unsuccessful candidates. 19 If there is an appeal the BoM appoints the next most senior suitable teacher in an acting capacity to undertake the duties of the post while the appeal is being conducted. 20 Notify the DES of the appointment by sending the completed POR 1 Form to Primary Payments.

7 BoM selects assessor from agreed Patron/INTO Diocesan list.

21 Chairperson and successful candidate sign contracts.

8 Record list of applicants.

22 Chairperson and teacher retain copy of contract.

9 Selection Board meet within a reasonable time to consider applications. 10 Call all applicants for interview even if only one. 11 Notify the candidates in writing of the date, time and location of the interview and give at least one week’s notice. 12 After interview chairperson retains List of Applicants, Record of performance (Score Sheets), Record of Selection Board’s recommendation. 13 The Marking System must give equal weighting to the 3 following criteria: ■ Willingness to participate in the school’s middle management structures by undertaking the additional responsibilities specified in the list of duties ■ Experience gained through length of service in the school ■ Capability to perform the duties attaching to the post 14 Submit selection Board’s decision in writing to BoM.





Appendix F On-Line Claims System (OLCS) The Department of Education and Skills developed an On Line Claims System referred to as OLCS. This system replaced the substitute claim forms and the quarterly return forms that were used by schools. OLCS is a web-based system which enables Primary schools to input claims for the payment of casual and non casual teachers and also record teacher absences on line using a PC in the school. The OLCS site can be accessed through To ensure that the integrity of the system is maintained, it is important that schools comply with the necessary control and security measures. In that context, there are four different user roles – data entry, data approver, local administrator and second data approver.The data entry person enters the data and will normally be a member of the administrative staff.The data approver shall approve the data entered and will normally be the Principal or Chairperson of the school. The local administrator role, responsible for resetting passwords and assigning additional data entry roles within the school, will be initially assigned to the Principal. A second approver role is required to approve the leave/claims in respect of the first approver’s absences. It should be noted that the practice of the Principal’s leave being approved by the Board of Management has not altered even in cases where the Deputy Principal has been nominated as the 2nd Approver for the school. All leave for teachers and SNAs should be recorded in chronological order whether the absence is substitutable or not. In cases where leave is substitutable and a substitute has not been employed by the school this leave should also be recorded. Additional information regarding the OLCS is available from the Department of Education & Skills website at > Education Personnel > Payroll > On Line Claims System. A Quick Reference Manual for OLCS was distributed at training to be retained by schools and information is also available from the IPPN website To access the system, a User Id and password, which is obtained from the Department of Education and Science, is required. If a new Principal is assuming the role of Approver in a school, the school should complete an Approve Change Request form. This form can be downloaded from the OLCS landing page of the website and, when completed, should be forwarded to the Department of Education and Skills. Prompts are now available on the OLCS re recent circulars.

Note:This information was kindly provided by Jack Hogan, of the DES

A P P E N D I X F: O N - L I N E C L A I M S S Y S T E M ( O L C S )


Appendix G Guidelines for the Information required for the Completion of OLCS 1 Use PIMS to record teachers’ absences, the reason and the name of the substitute for future reference. 2 Ensure that the school closures for the year have been inputted correctly. 3 Remember that other than in an emergency situation where life / safety are at imminent risk, the closure of a school requires the authority of the Chairperson. 4 The following are the ‘rules’ are the official reasons for school closures and originate from a document called Rules for National Schools – a document which is no longer in circulation and is largely defunct now as most of it has been superseded by DES circulars. Rule No. 59 60 61 62 70

Reason For Closure 1. Public & Religious holidays 2. Closing for special days e.g. Confirmation, or local holiday Exceptional causes e.g. Heating / electrical failure / dangerous weather conditions where contingency plans could not have been put in place Elections In the interest of public health Professional Development / In-service Day

Note:This information was kindly provided by Jack Hogan, of the DES.




Appendix H Online Claims System (OLCS) – User Guidelines Log In 1. Launch Internet Explorer. 2. In the Address Bar type 3. Enter User ID & Password. 4. Answer Personal Question. 5. Click Login. 6. On the Esinet Homepage click OLCS. Staff Search for a New Staff Member 1. Click on Search under Staff on the OLCS Menu 2. Enter the PPSN of the Staff member and click Search If the search is successful the Staff Member will be returned in the Staff Search Results. If no results are found the option is given to do a New Search or to Add Staff.The new staff member can be added from here or from the Add Staff on the OLCS Menu on the left of the screen. Add Staff Member 1. Click on Add under Staff on the OLCS menu. 2. Enter the PPSN of the Staff Member and click Search. 3. If the search returns no records then click Add Staff. 4. All personal details to be completed on this screen and click Next. 5. On the Bank Account details screen, enter the Sort Code (if known) and click Get Bank Details. If the Sort Code is not known click Search. Select the bank from the drop down list and type the town where the bank is located and click Search. 6. The Bank Account Number and Account Name must be entered before clicking Next. 7. Enter Pre 1999 employment details (if applicable). 8. Employment Status – select the relevant radio button – Qualified – Yes/No. For Post Primary also enter Registration Number, date etc. 9. Qualifications – To add one or more qualifications click Add Qualifications screen and enter details. When finished adding click Save. Click Save again to continue. 10. When all qualifications are entered click Save to open the Staff Member Set Up Successful screen. If all details are correct click Send to Approver or click Amend if corrections are needed. Once details are sent to the Approver a Confirmation Screen is displayed. Click OK – this gives an option to Print.

Leave Add Leave 1. Click Add under Leave on the OLCS menu to record a new leave record. 2. Enter the Start and End Date and click Next. 3. Select the Staff Member on leave, the Leave Category and Sub Category and click Next. 4. If the Leave Sub Category is certified e.g. illness or maternity leave click Next and then click Add Certificate. 5. Enter the certificate Start and End dates. Click Add, this generates a certificate number which should be recorded on the back of the hard copy certificate and filed. 6. Click Save and Add to store the certificate. Change Leave 1. Click Search under Leave on the OLCS menu. 2. Enter the Search Criteria. 3. Click on the hyperlinked start date of the leave requiring change on the Leave Search Results screen. 4. Change details as required. (Note: the start date of the leave record cannot be changed.The record must be deleted). 5. Click Next and Save. Claims Add Claim 1. Click on Add under Claims on the OLCS menu. This opens the Staff Leave Search screen. 2. Select the staff member from the drop down list with a leave record which has been previously added. 3. Click Search which returns all leave records. 4. Tick the Radio button beside the appropriate Leave Record. 5. Click the Add Claim to Grid. 6. Complete the Claim Grid by selecting the relevant substitute in each combo box. 7. If the Staff Member on Leave record consists of a number of weeks – a) Enter the claim details for 1st. week and Calculate Claim. b) Select Start Date of next week from drop down list and click Select. Note: Copy Claim can be used to copy a claim from one week to the next provided the details are the same. 8. When the grid has been completed, two options are available: a) Click Save. The record is saved to the Work in Progress Worklist. b) Click Calculate Claim, tick the radio button and Send to Approver.



Appendix I A Schedule Priority Checklist

Familiarise yourself with the Principal’s Information Management System (PIMS). If you haven't received one, contact the IPPN Support Office - 1890 21 22 23 Request the allocation of an experienced Principal mentor. Contact the IPPN Support Office as above Seek permission from the Chairperson to gain access to the school Ask Chairperson if there are any urgent / time critical issues that need to be dealt with before school opens. Familiarise yourself with recent correspondence which may have a bearing on your first few days e.g. late enrolments, staff appointments Request briefing from outgoing Principal and / or Deputy Principal Request hand-over file from outgoing Principal - start using PIMS at this point Prepare a list of questions for the outgoing Principal - refer to Chapter 5 of this document Arrange to meet Deputy Principal Arrange to meet Secretary and Caretaker Establish names of all staff, BoM, Parents Association, SENO, EWO and Inspector Offer to meet staff (if appointed before schools close in June) If you are a Teaching Principal, be well prepared for your first term's teaching Make sure you go on holiday - so you start on a 'full tank'




Appendix J Board Of Management Minutes Template

Board of Management Minutes Template Scoil Mhuire, Anytown


Scoil Mhuire, Anytown. Staffroom

Date of Meeting

15 September 2007

Minutes taken by


Apologies (initials)


Present (initials)


Time Meeting Opened


ISSUE: Minutes of previous meeting




DECISION/ACTION: Minutes adopted and signed

BY: Chairperson

Quotations for shelter received and noted Letter from Local Authority requesting use of school as Polling Station. Permission granted


Matters arising Correspondence


Principal’s Report

Treasurer’s Report presented and adopted Copy attached Local heating oil suppliers to be surveyed for supply cotract Principal’s Report presented and adopted Copy attached




Three requests for leave from Teachers A, B and C.

Agreed, with conditions. A letter to issue outlining conditions Leave Policy outlined Two requests granted,( A and C) one refused (B) ineligible Three letters to issue to teachers

Persistent Valdalism

Following discussion quotations will be sought for CCTV

Request to hire hall

Subcommittee to be established to meet on Oct.15th Review of Enrolment Policy Traffic Congestion Christmas Party Caretaker’s Resignation Parent-Teacher Meetings

Parents’ Association to be asked to survey parents re issues and solutions BoM to fund Staff Dinner to acknowledge voluntary commitment to extra curricular activities Resignation accepted. Advertisement to be drafted and placed in local media th th th To take place on 16 , 17 and 18 November Timetable to be drawn up in consultation with Principal and issued to parents and parents


BoM Safety Officer Chairperson, AA,BB,CC EE Principal Chairperson Teacher representative

Note:This template is available to download on, along with many others

A P P E N D I X J : B O A R D O F M A N A G E M E N T M I N U T E S T E M P L AT E


Appendix K Class Preference Sheet

SCHOOL NAME Consultation re Class Preference: 20092010 Teacher: Present Class: Classes Taught from 2000:

Please indicate below your top three teaching zone preferences for next year. The allocation of teaching duties to teachers will be based on the following criteria: • • • • •

The collective needs of all the children The value of staff rotation as a means of developing whole school approaches to teaching and learning The importance of staff rotation in contributing to teachers’ professional development Fairness shown to the preferences expressed by individual teachers over a period of time Balancing the talents and personalities of teachers with the diversity of children in the school

Please insert ‘1’ opposite your first choice, ‘2’ opposite your second choice and ‘3’ opposite your third choice of Teaching Zone. Please return this form not later than ………

Zone A - Support Teaching, Learning Support, Resource etc

Zone B – Junior & Senior Infants

Zone C – Rang I & Rang II

Zone D – Rang III & Rang IV

Zone E – Rang V & Rang VI

Signature: _________________

Date: ____________________

Note:This template is available to download on, along with many others 36




Temporary Classrooms Front Yard

Back Yard

(12.40 to 13.00)

Week beginning

• Teachers will cover duties in turn where a teacher is absent through illness.

• Please arrange for a substitute if you know in advance that you will be unavailable for duty.

** • Please ensure that there is one teacher on each yard and each corridor at all times.


(10.30 to 10.40 and 12.30 to 12.40)

Maoirseacht 2008 - 2009 Week beginning

Appendix L Maoirseacht 2010 / 2011

This is a sample rota for supervision in a large school with 2 yards, 2 corridors and various prefabs to be supervised. It can be tailored to suit your individual school’s needs. This template is available to download from


Appendix M Boards Of Management – A Framework for Good Practice Bearing in mind the challenges when it comes to the election and appointment of new boards it is timely to draw attention to a framework of good practice for Boards of Management. IPPN and CPSMA offer some suggestions to achieve this. 1 It is important to outline the functions and responsibilities of a Board of Management, and that each board member has an active part in the management of the school. 2 Board members must know the school, study the schedule for the school as outlined in the Deed of Variation (c.f. CPSMA Handbook p. 11). 3 Board members must be willing to uphold and support the ethos, culture and traditions of the school. 4 The workload should be shared fairly between all board members. New board members should be invited to participate in all discussions and work. The new board members should be helped by the more experienced board members in learning about board functions and the relationship between the board with the pupils, teachers, staff, patron, Minister for Education & Skills, the Department of Education & Skills, the INTO, NPC-P, IPPN and the Managerial Bodies who represent the Patron: Jewish Schools, Jewish Education Board; Educate Together Schools, Educate Together Patron Company; Church of Ireland Schools, Church of Ireland Education Board; Catholic Schools, Gaelscoileanna, CPSMA and Muslim Schools, Muslim Education Board. 5 The agenda for each board meeting (prepared by the chairperson, the secretary to the BoM and the principal) is centred on the issues affecting the school. 6 The decisions reached at each board meeting should be recorded in the minute book. 7 At the end of each meeting the BoM should issue an agreed report to the parents, teachers and the school community. 8 The chairperson’s role is one of facilitating the BoM through an agenda of business with a view to achieving responsible collective decisions which, once agreed on, are upheld by all board members as part of collective responsibility. These decisions are recorded in the BoM minute book.

10 Between meetings the chairperson, the principal/ BoM secretary and the treasurer should communicate frequently. 11 The chairperson reports back to the next meeting on issues and any decisions taken in between meetings by the officers of the board and the principal teacher. 12 The Board of Management is required under the Education Act to assist the parents in the formation of a Parents’ Association. The NPC-P Head Office will assist boards in this. Information can be obtained from NPC-P Head Office, 12 Marlborough Court, Dublin 1. Telephone (01) 8874034. 13 The board members should have a good working relationship between the parents’ association, the teaching staff, the school staff, the patron and the school trustees. 14 The board should arrange from time to time meetings with (1) the school staff, (2) the parents’ association (3) the school trustees. 15 Boards should be fair and consistent in making decisions on issues that affect the school staff, the pupils, parents and school trustees. 16 Boards should host an annual celebration of the schools’ success with the staff and parents’ association. 17 Boards, under the Education Act, are required to prepare an annual financial report which is made available to parents’ association, the patron, the school trustees, the Minister for Education & Skills and the officials of the DES. 18 The BoM manages the school as ‘a body corporate’ on behalf of the patron in accordance with the regulations of the Minister for Education and Skills.

9 Decision making is achieved by consensus — voting is used only as a last resort. The chairperson has a casting vote.




A Framework of Roles within an effective and Efficient BOM Below is a suggested ‘menu’ of delegated duties to share the workload of the BoM between all members. Overall responsibility still rests collectively with the BoM as a ‘corporate unit’. Specific school circumstances will dictate the exact nature of duties. CHAIRPERSON Responsibilities include: ■ Chairing BoM meetings ■ Official correspondence on behalf of school ■ Liaising with the principal teacher between meetings ■ Recruitment & employment related issues for all school staff ■ All capital projects — with trustees’ approval ■ Signatures for cheques with treasurer or other member nominated by BoM PRINCIPAL TEACHER/SECRETARY Responsibilities include: ■ The day-to-day management of the school, staff & pupils ■ All professional educational (teaching & learning) issues ■ Providing leadership to the overall school community ■ Preparing & monitoring annual budget with treasurer and chairperson ■ Recording the decisions of each meeting ■ Setting the agenda for meetings in consultation with the chairperson TREASURER Responsibilities include: ■ Reporting to each BoM meeting on school finances preparing an annual budget in consultation with the principal teacher & chairperson ■ Liaising with principal! school secretary re bill payments and lodgments ■ Liaising with book-keeper! accountant re the preparation of accounts for annual returns ■ Liaising with the bank re school account MAINTENANCE OFFICER Responsibilities include: ■ Managing the cleaning staff! cleaning contractors and caretaking staff ■ Organising the cleaning! maintenance, equipment and supplies SAFETY OFFICER Responsibilities include: ■ The BoM’s health and safety statement ■ Provision of keys and alarm codes to staff of the school and other agreed users of the building ■ The maintenance of an appropriate security & fire alarm system ■ Co-ordinating a list of out-of-hours key holders for the school in the event of alarm activation or access requirement for repairs & maintenance ■ Hire of school premises to outside groups — security, arranging keys etc.






Ciall Ceannaithe - Sound Advice and Borrowed Wisdom for Newly-Appointed Principals  
Ciall Ceannaithe - Sound Advice and Borrowed Wisdom for Newly-Appointed Principals